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Today’s News - Monday, March 9, 2015

•   ArcSpace brings us Meyer's travel guide to Taiwan's cities, where "architectural qualities do not reveal themselves at first glance - you have to know where to look."

•   New research discovers "a new law of physics explaining how people interact in large groups - findings that architects could use to design safer and more efficient buildings."

•   King gives thumbs-up - and down - to Heatherwick/BIG plans for Google HQ, "a blend of the visionary and the vacuous, at once innovative and self-absorbed."

•   Loth ponders what price Chicago would pay to land the Obama Presidential Library in a land-swap for Olmsted property: "Park advocates say such a deal is like amputating an arm and giving back a glove."

•   Kamin x 2: he continues his call for "modesty" in any park land used for the Obama library: while it "represents a huge potential economic boost in parts of the city that desperately need it - why does the library need so much land?"

•   He cheers ESI's 400-foot-tall map on 300 S. Wacker Drive that shows "how bold graphic design can help freshen a tired modernist building" while being "respectful" of its "sober modernist language."

•   Birnbaum expounds on the national significance of the Frick's Russell Page garden, and what considerations the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission should take into account: "the physical and historical context would be given equal weight in design decision-making, and holistic expansion plans would acknowledge the invaluable and irreplaceable landscape that is at stake."

•   Litt, on a brighter note, cheers Cleveland's Public Square renovation, "the most visible example yet of the city's desire" to make "the urban core more walkable and livable" (jackhammers may "never sound pleasant. But in this case, the racket will be welcome").

•   Heathcote x 2: a most eloquent ode to the "hidden language of the streets," where postboxes, pavements, and signage are "markers of urban identity as potent as the great monuments" - though now, "the architecture of security and surveillance shows how intimately street furniture reflects the changing nature of public space."

•   He has a cheery conversation with Scheeren re: his "spectacular" design for the China Guardian Auctions building in Beijing that promises to be "an extreme version of what all the major auction houses are trying to do: reposition themselves as cultural and lifestyle destinations."

•   Foster "bags" the signature stadium job for Qatar's 2022 FIFA World Cup: "The environmental strategies will be of international interest to the sporting public as well as those concerned with the architecture"

•   Piano, Kamin, and others talk about building tall: "Are skyscrapers simply about vanity, or are there practical and even spiritual reasons why we want to build so high?"

•   Eyefuls of Melbourne's newest apartment tower that presents the portrait of a historic Aboriginal leader on two façades, and a heat map on the other two.

•   Davies finds much to like about Melbourne's ARM-designed portrait building, but wishes it "shared a little more DNA" with RMIT's Godsell-designed Design Hub: "One's curving, grungy and literary; the other is austere, formal and perfect - they don't 'talk' to each other."

•   Saffron cheers Philly's Fishtown "having its Williamsburg moment" with plans to transform a former brewery into an Adjmi-designed boutique hotel, by a developer "in tune with Fishtown's arty, DIY, tattoo-and-vintage-loving culture."

•   Wainwright weighs in on the London collective Assemble, known for its for pop-ups, "hitting the big time...And they've done all this without even being qualified architects" (are we the only ones who find that a bit worrisome?).

•   Altabe sees a dark side in a Chinese company using a 3D printer to manufacture "mansions en masse": "selfsameness can be had with the flick of a switch. There's a certain uh-oh in all this, don't you think?"

•   Hosey debunks six myths of sustainable design: "Green building isn't as difficult as you might think."

•   UNESCO Director General condemns the bulldozing of Nimrud in Iraq by ISIS: "The deliberate destruction of cultural heritage constitutes a war crime."

•   Call for entries: CTBUH 2015 Tall Building Awards (no fee!).


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